The Night Of, a limited series on HBO, tells the fictional story of Queens resident and college student, Nasir Khan, and the repercussions of a single night in his life which brings the character unwittingly into the underworld of urban incarceration and New York City politics. English actor Riz Ahmed, who got his start as rapper Riz MC, plays Nasir, an earnest millennial and son of first generation Pakistani immigrants.
The Night Of is beautifully filmed and the show does a detailed job of using real locations and making sure they are where the show says they are. As New Yorkers, we appreciate that accuracy, as well as the touches in the script that make it clear that screenwriter Richard Price is a New Yorker. Price was born in the Bronx and many of his novels and films are set in the New York city region. The gritty opening sequence is further haunted by the presence of executive producer James Gandolfini, uses black and white aerial shots of New York City with key elements of the storyline pulled out for visual effect.
Without further ado, here are the notable film locations so far in The Night Of:
1. Jackson Heights, Queens
Nasir, aka Nas, lives with his brother and parents in a typical two-floor, free-standing Queens house in Jackson Heights. Sometimes referred to as Little India, the neighborhood is populated by many different ethnicities of South Asian descent. Nasir’s father drives a yellow taxi cab, medallion number 62P4, one he shares with two other owners. Nasir takes this cab when his friend bails on a party at 55 Stanton Street in the Lower East Side that evening, leaving him without a ride. Nasir desperately wants to go because he was invited by someone on the basketball team, a friend of the player he tutors. It’s a chance to party with the cool kids and he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity.
We do feel obligated to note that the fundamental takeaway from this whole show, which doesn’t reduce its role in revealing a side of incarceration and criminal justice in New York City, is that everyone should take public transit. If Nasir had simply taken public transit to Manhattan, this whole story would not have transpired. Jackson Heights is a big neighborhood however, and the junction of the subway lines at the Roosevelt Av-Jackson Heights stop, serviced by the E/F/M/R/7 lines, is only along the main drag of the neighborhood. Nonetheless, many buses ply the north-south streets in the neighborhood and the 7 line is one stop from Woodside, which offers a connector to the Long Island Railroad that could have taken Nasir express to Penn Station.
We know that Nasir’s home address starts with 105-03, although we don’t know yet the exact street. Queens addresses have a logic to them: the first number before the dash indicates that the house is located between 105th and 106th Street, and the 03 is the house number. 105th Street only runs from Astoria Boulevard south to 37th Avenue. If he lived at the most northern part of an avenue that crosses 105th Street, it would be a 17 minute walk to the nearest subway station or a 9 minute bus ride on the Q23. But, Nasir is young, trying to be cool, and in a rush.